Google says longer or shorter anchor text isn’t better but can provide more context
Google’s John Mueller was asked on Friday if longer or better anchor text was better. The anchor text are the words in the hyperlink, so the blue underlined link (in many cases). John said longer or shorter anchor text isn’t better or worse, it just gives Google more or less context on the page it links to.
It’s a bit obvious, but I guess sometimes you want to make sure the link is right for the users. So linking a paragraph of content might be weird in terms of usability, but maybe it gives Google more context. Is this going to be too much context for Google and Google might ignore a lot of it? Perhaps?
Here is the question about it at 16:46 mark:
Do you treat anchor text that contains many words differently than anchor text that contains only two words? I mean, do you value those two words more when you compare it to anchor text that has, like, seven or eight words? For example, the anchor text of two words like “cheap shoes” and the anchor of seven words is “you can buy cheap shoes here”. Could you clarify this?
John answered the 17:11 mark saying “I don’t think we’re doing anything special about the length of the words in the anchor text.” He added that Google uses “this anchor text as a way to provide additional context for individual pages.” “And sometimes if you have longer anchor text it gives us a little more information. Sometimes it’s a bit like a simple collection of different keywords, ”he added. Is there better or worse, he said, “I wouldn’t see any of these as better or worse. It depends. 🙂
Here is what he said:
So I don’t think we’re doing anything special about the length of the words in the anchor text, but rather, we are using that anchor text as a way to provide additional context for the individual pages. And sometimes if you have longer anchor text it gives us a bit more information. Sometimes it’s a bit like a simple collection of different keywords. So from that point of view, I wouldn’t see any of these as better or worse.
And that’s something where, like, especially for internal links, you probably want to focus more on things like how can you make it more clear to your users that when you click that link that’s what what will they find? Google says that the words around your anchor text are secondary to the anchor text itself.
So that’s kind of how I would like to have data here. I wouldn’t say shorter anchor text is better or shorter anchor text is worse. It’s just a different context.
You can watch the full Q&A here:
Anchor text has always been used to help with page rankings for the keywords it targets. So if I want this page to rank well for [long anchor text]I would link to this page from other pages with the words long anchor text (of course internal anchor text versus external anchor text also comes into play). This is a ranking factor which is why the person asked if long or short anchor text was important because sometimes it can be too long and context is lost.
Forum discussion at YouTube community.